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Tools and Woods with Bob Smalser


 
  The Drawknife by Bob Smalser 1 of 3  

 

The drawknife is among the most useful and versatile tools in boatbuilding and general woodwork.

 

But it is also frightening, because it can behave like a power tool and get the beginner into a lot of trouble very quickly.

Overcoming that trouble, however, is merely a matter of sharpening the tool and learning to read the grain of the wood.

As my stones live their life out on the bench where they belong for daily use, they are filthy from saw and metal dust and need cleaning. A simple stiff parts-cleaning brush and a pan of kerosene does the trick. I’ll re-lube them generously with cutting oil as I use them.

Then I simply mount my stones on a board extended from the Workmate so the drawknife’s handles have clearance, and clamp everything down firmly.  The blade back is flattened first, using coarse and fine stones… the single most important phase of sharpening… do it thoroughly. 

Handle clearance is critical because sharpening is best done with both hands holding the blade… not holding the handles… and close to the stone for better feel.

This drawknife is an ancient family piece from Granddad made by Braun in “Schweig”…Switzerland… the blade has about half its original depth, one tang has a silver braze repair and these are the third set of handles I am aware of. 

I suspect my Great-grandfather brought it with him when he immigrated.  It’s the only one I own… or need, as it still works just dandy.

The blade bevel is 20 degrees… we’ll hone that next and add another 5 degrees or so of secondary bevel.


 
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